Because of border crossings, buying a
used car has taken on added risks for the new owner.
Not only does he or she inherit the mechanical problems,
better known as the reason the owner is selling
the damn thing, but there could be another hidden
agenda to the sale, especially if the car seems in very
good condition for the price. It just might be the case
you are buying a mule, or more accurately, the conveyance
of a mule.
A mule, in the parlance of the
drug industry, is someone who carries drugs. When they
are driving across the border, the drugs are often hidden
in the door panels of the car. If the car is a particular
model of Ford, you could say in all honesty that the
driver, with little or no skills in animal husbandry,
has managed to make a mule out of a mustang.
buying a used car can make crossing the border an unpleasant
experience. I know because it just happened to me.
I was on Vancouver Island, first in line
to board the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. I
gave my ticket to someone in a uniform and a few minutes
later saw two men being lead by a black dog, walking
to the front of the line. I presumed, because of the
NWD (New World Disorder), this was a recent anti-terrorist
procedure. When the dog reached my car, it circumnavigated
it three times, tugging one of the border guards with
it. There was a knock on my side window and I rolled
it part way down, thinking of the nuisance of having
to roll it back up again as it did not align properly
with the side tracks. Neither did the passenger window.
What does THAT tell you?
"Is this your car?" said the
"How long have you owned it?"
"Where did you get it?"
I told him I bought it at a tow yard and
I showed him the papers. He asked me to open the trunk
and unlock the passenger door. Meanwhile the dog was
straining his leash, rubbing his nose against the passenger
door in a rather licentious manner.
I watched the two men meticulously search
the car and trunk. They opened every bag and box, whereupon
the dog stuck his head inside and inhaled deeply, like
a 17th century British aristocrat snorting a snuff box.
I was barraged with a series of questions,
which I answered honestly. They pulled my notebooks
from my pack and read them. They looked at the titles
of the books I was reading. Finally the two men decided
I wasn't a Columbian cartel kingpin. I was just a dimwit.
"The car probably has a previous
history," one of them told me.
I had no problem getting the car into
Mexico. But because it has 'a history', which apparently
a drug dog can read like the morning funnies, I know
it would be foolish to try and drive it back out of
Mexico. Within three hours of attempting this, I'd be
staring at a heap of sheet metal, bolts and upholstery
lying on the ground in Secondary.
When I told this story to a friend yesterday,
he said that some months back someone had bought a used
car here in Mexico and tried to drive it into the US.
Not only did his car have 'a history', it was apparently
still pioneering its career. A hyper kinetic dog convinced
the border guards to remove the side panels. Inside
there were several ladrillos of dope taped
against the doors. The man spent several months in jail
before lawyers were able to free him.
So next time you're kicking the wheels
of a possible good deal, think about what the clean
engine, no dents, good rubber and clear oil aren't going
to tell you. Make it a point to meet the owner in person
and talk with him or her. Use your inbuilt tuning fork
to detect any deception or dishonesty on their part.
Just because the car's going cheap doesn't mean you're
going to come out on top. You could be inheriting the
history of a mule and win the race to jail by a dog's
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